The most important ingredient for a successful business isn’t something that can be bought with money. You can have world-class facilities, the best technology available, and a perfect product – but exceptional employees can be the difference between soaring success and disappointing failure.
With such a strong emphasis on member service, we have very high standards at Michigan First Credit Union. Over the years, we’ve developed a robust selection process to identify top-notch employees (who we call “team members.”) How do we do this? I believe that a solid resume can show us what you are on paper, but it’s the interviewing process that really shows us who you are. Here are some interviewing tips I’ve learned over the years – coming from someone who’s been on both sides of the process several times.
Integrity is critical.
People have to be honest about who they are and what they believe in. Sometimes, this is difficult to recognize immediately, but I tell my team to trust their instincts if they feel like a candidate isn’t being authentic. Be yourself – the hiring professionals will be able to tell if you’re faking.
Have a passion for something.
Obviously, at Michigan First we would prefer that a candidate have a passion for the highest quality service and solving members’ financial problems, but passion can manifest in different ways. We look for people who want to live for and contribute to something and who want to make a difference in the world.
Strong work ethic is a given.
We look for individuals who work hard not just in their job, but in self-improvement. Think about it: talent can only get you so far. The most successful athletes, artists, and businesspeople would never be where they are without hard work and dedication.
Realize that you won’t fit everywhere.
Sometimes, we will come across a potential team member with outstanding technical skills and experience, but their values don’t quite align with ours. This doesn’t mean they’re a bad worker or a bad person – it just means that the company and the individual don’t fit well together. Other times, a candidate might be lacking in a certain skill, but they’re a perfect fit otherwise. We look at it like this: we can teach skills. We can’t teach values. A team member who lives and breathes our culture will be happier, more efficient, and a great ally.
Treat the interview like a mutual interview.
You are interviewing the company just as much as the company is interviewing you. Even if the company thinks you’re a fantastic match, if you don’t think you want to work there, trust that feeling. Have confidence that you fit somewhere and that you will find the right place for yourself.
Hopefully, this advice will help you identify a company or career path that suits your individual strengths and values. Remember, just because you didn’t get a position doesn’t mean you don’t have amazing things to offer. Work on presenting yourself in the most positive, authentic way possible and believe that you will find the perfect match – the right company is out there.
By Michael Poulos, President/CEO of Michigan First Credit Union